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Money launderers and VAT fraudsters busted in Latvia

A major gang of money launderers and VAT fraudsters, which had caused a loss of some 1.7 m Euros to the state budget in a year-and-a-half, has been caught in Latvia, the State Revenue Service said.

The Financial Police, under the State Revenue Service in cooperation with the Omega counter-terrorism team of the Latvian State Police, cracked down on the criminal gang, searching 27 locations, including the secret headquarters of the fraudsters, where significant evidence of their crimes was seized. In addition, the authorities seized about 95,000 Euros in cash, contraband cigarettes and firearms.

The Latvian state budget lost around 1.7 m Euros in revenues as a result of the criminal operations of the gang from January 2016 to August 2017.

"The investigation established that the criminal group was creating transaction chains between shell companies for the purposes of tax evasion and money laundering. The gang was active in several sectors of the economy, including: road haulage, wholesale of car parts, and provision of security services," said Evita Teice-Mamaja, a spokeswoman for the State Revenue Service.

Altogether, nine people were detained.

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